"Dr. McCauley uses hard, scientific facts as he talks about the neurobiology
That's debatable but he raises some interesting theories. Here's my original take on it and then a response to someone's reply. It's a long video so you kind of get the gist from my analysis of it.
I watched the link and I think he makes some valid points and comes to some
decent conclusions and some very wrong ones as well. First of all he is totally
wrong about what the "choice" crowd believes. The choice crowd does NOT believe
that "addicts" are all bad people, have poor morals, are selfish, etc.(that's AA
speak)..... The "choice" crowd, for the most part, believes that "addicts"
become dependent on drugs not because they are "bad" but because they are
suffering. Now where I agree with Kevin, is that the instinctual response to
alleviate this pain does occur in the mid brain (instinctual brain) and NOT in
the frontal cortex (thinking rational brain). He says that this instinctual
brain's job of relieving stress is achieved by releasing dopamine and that for
people whose stress levels have gone over what's normal, usual activities that
provide joy and stress relief, are no longer cutting it. So, as is it's job, the
midbrain searches for ways that will bring that dopamine level high enough to
combat that stress-IE...drugs and alcohol. That's all good and I've written
about the instinctual brains JOB to alleviate internal pain and suffering
(stress if you will). Where he's missing the boat is where this stress
originates from and that IS in how we react to the realities, tragedies and
hurts of everyday existence. The emotions and responses that we feel DO come
from how we view the world and what goes on around us. That stuff happens in the
frontal cortex. So it's not that we are bad, immoral, etc.... it's that we
don't handle LIFE well which causes underlying issues (stress, anxiety, etc)
The key is in learning what is lacking in our response to the realities of life.
Sure, physical "addiction" or dependency IS caused by the midbrain's job of
alleviating pain, but the cause or reason why it is put in that position, is
because we have these underlying issues that DO happen in our conscious,
thinking brain. So the answer? You do have to suffer through withdrawal of
the "dependency" and that does suck. And chances are, if you don't address why
you have all this stress, anxiety, PTSD, etc....you will very likely go right
back to your dependent ways because the REAL causes have not been addressed.
So the answer lies in learning better techniques in handling stress, anxiety and
how to embrace life. The last 5 minutes of the video where he suggests how AA is
helpful in that regard is just pathetic. Nice guy, some good points, but misses
the most important aspects of what drives people to dependency. The fact that
you need "extra" dopamine to alleviate the stress is an explanation for why
people resort to becoming dependent but it doesn't address fact that the only
permanent solution is to address and overcome the underlying causes that lead to
that instinctual solution..... AA is NOT that answer. Cognitive based
learning, self analysis to uncover what's causing the stress, etc.... is what
will help. AA/12 step addresses and teaches none of that....instead it is a
program that tells you that you are powerless, sinful, that you need to
AFTER ALL THAT, I STILL SAY IT ISN'T A DISEASE!!!!!!!
I mean obviously things "happen" in our brains when we feel emotions, think,
stress out, etc.... Thinking actually emits or uses energy..... We're just
globs of flowing electrons, mostly water and there has to be physical trails of
the stuff we think, how we think, yada, yada, yada....... But at the end of
the day, You need to figure out how to alleviate stress, anxiety and all that
not happy shit. Self medicating it away works, but it doesn't....... It's
not easy, but it's not all that complicated either.
PS: the rest of the suffering blog coming later this week......